Euro court tells Dutch to open market

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ordered the Netherlands to amend its food legislation that allows for the prohibition of foods fortified with vitamins and minerals if they cannot prove their nutritional necessity among the Dutch population.

The ECJ said a public health danger must exist before any fortified food can be banned and ruled that the Dutch legislation as it stands was a breach of its European Union treaty commitment to free trade.

The Dutch law, similar in effect to a Danish decree that also incurred the wrath of the ECJ last year, dates back to 1996 and covers foods fortified with vitamin A (in the form of retinoids), vitamin D, folic acid, selenium, copper or zinc that are legally sold in other EU countries.

Theo van Rooij, chairman of the Dutch Natural and Health Products Association, welcomed the decision and said it was in line with the EU food fortification proposal that may become law in the future. ?The regulation needed updating. Companies like Kellogg?s sell these products in most markets so it was nonsensical that they should be prohibited here. People think the Dutch market is liberated, but the food market is much more restrictive than the supplements market.?

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